Rob Jacob


Robert J.K. Jacob
Dept. of Computer Science
Tufts University
Halligan Hall
161 College Avenue
Medford, MA 02155 U.S.A.

Email: Email address

Phone: 617-627-2225
Fax: 617-627-2227


Robert Jacob is a Professor of Computer Science at Tufts University, where his research interests are new interaction modes and techniques and user interface software; his current work focuses on implicit brain-computer interfaces. He has been a visiting professor at the University College London Interaction Centre, Universite Paris-Sud, and the MIT Media Laboratory. Before coming to Tufts, he was in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the Naval Research Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and he is a member of the editorial board for the journal Human-Computer Interaction and a founding member for ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. He has served as Vice-President of ACM SIGCHI, Papers Co-Chair of the CHI and UIST conferences, and General Co-Chair of UIST and TEI. He was elected as a member of the ACM CHI Academy in 2007 and as an ACM Fellow in 2016.

Current Research

The current focus in my research group is on a new generation of brain-computer interfaces. Brain-computer interaction has made dramatic progress in recent years, but its main application to date has been for physically disabled users. Our research in real-time measurement and machine learning classification of functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) brain data leads us to develop, use, and evaluate brain measurement as input to adaptable user interfaces for the larger population.

We are using brain input as a way to obtain more information about the user and their context in an effortless and direct way from their brain activity. We then use it to adapt the user interface in real time. We are creating and studying these new user interfaces, with emphasis on domains where we can measure their efficacy.

We are now also broadening this work to include other forms of lightweight, passive, real-time adaptive user interfaces, based on physiological or other measurements. Our focus continues to be on the design of subtle and effective interfaces that make judicious use of the measurements we can obtain.

Brain project image      Brain project image      Brain project image

[general article]    [overview chapter]    [more papers]    [project page]

Papers, Talks, etc

Other Recent Research Projects

Image from the project

Reality-based Interaction: Understanding the Next Generation of User Interfaces
[project]   [CHI paper]   [CHI workshop]

Image from the project

Tangible Programming for children
[Michael Horn]   [project]   [Robot Park] at Boston Museum of Science

Image from the project

TUIMS: Tangible User Interface Management System
[Orit Shaer]   [paper]

Courses: Fall 2017

Courses: Spring 2017

Ph.D. Alumni


HCI group HCI group at CHI 2016 HCI group at CHI 2015 Using Emotiv EEG headset Using head-mounted display and eye tracker

(Group photo courtesy of Dan Afergan; EEG photo courtesy of Beste Yuksel)